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Interludes, when and how?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by BTT, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    Everyone who's read Worm and Wormfic has had more than their share of interludes, tiny chapters that cut to other characters reacting to whatever wacky stunt the main character's pulled now. Or, even worse, PHO interludes, where the writer roleplays an entire forum.

    This is less of a thing in other fandoms for whatever reason, but still, the question remains: can interludes be done well? If so, how does an interlude qualify as good?
     
  2. Agayek

    Agayek Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    Like everything else in writing, interludes are good when they contribute to the greater work, and bad when they don't. Essentially, interludes are tools for a) world building, and b) revealing information to the reader that the protagonist doesn't know. Both of these are potentially useful tools, but they can also ruin the story if employed poorly.

    At the end of the day, you'll generally want to use interludes only if there's critical plot information, typically things going on in the background to the wider plot, that you want the reader to know ahead of time. Or put another way, if you have a cliffhanger or plot twist you want to spoil ahead of time for whatever reason, you use an interlude. Otherwise, you should stick to the protagonist and just tell the story.
     
  3. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Never. Interludes are a tools for a weak authors. If you want to write another POV find a way to make it work with your existing story. Interludes are the exact reason I can't stomach 90 percent of worm fanfic and the fact that it bled over into other Fandoms kills me.
     
  4. Gaius

    Gaius Second Year

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    I haven't read Worm, but outside of fanfiction I have only encountered this in the novel in Library here Unsong. Sometimes they can be interesting, but as Zombie points out, I think they often work mostly as diversions. I usually like to read novels that have only one POV as well, so when chapters change POVs (e.g. in Wheel of Time I think this happens?), I also think that kills immersion because I am more invested in the primary plot.

    But I suppose both interludes and chapters that change POV can help convey more information and work to slow down the tempo of the plot to make readers anticipate the next installment or chapter even more.

    Initially I was thinking of using interludes in my fic that depicted the Mirror of Erised at different points in time (Roman invention, Flamel rediscovering it, Victorian gilding, Dumbledore's extra enchantments) as a kind of "history of object" idea, but I think that would be only interesting to me and not helpful for overall plot, so I don't plan to use them after all.
     
  5. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Yes. I agree. I like plot lines that follow one POV. The only way a second POV would work for me if its one of those four people start on different paths but meet in the middle. That's really the only time its worked well. But just like with Potter Law, if it doesn't involve Harry as the main character, I'm not interested. Wheel of Time was big on multiple POV but it also breaks immersion.

    Interludes as they're used now serve as a way to "react" to the previous chapters. Like in the worm fandom, often times the interludes are either entirely disconnected from the main plot lot and serve no purpose or they're reactionary PHO updates in which people in a message board talk about what just happened.

    There's one urban fantasy series that I've seen before that used a different POV that I think worked well and it was pretty much counterpoint to the main character pov in that you learned information that would affect the main character, and then you got to see how they reacted to it.

    When I say never, I mean that they should never be used in the way they're used currently. I think it requires a certain amount of talent to pull off that a lot of people aren't able to do so, thus it becomes a crutch to add more depth to 2D characters, or a way for them to not write the main plot line because they're stuck -- which I think weakens the story.
     
  6. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Interludes in Stormlight are what prevent me from calling Brandon Sanderson a good writer. I can see a case for interludes relevant to the story, but interludes that literally break up the story ought to be excised and forgotten---or, if you really love them, compiled into an anthology, but excised from the larger work nonetheless.
     
  7. Striker

    Striker What's up demons?

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    Interludes are good if they're something you actively desire as a reader beforehand. An interlude for an antagonist that has appeared in the story many times and you as a reader are itching to get firsthand experience with, good. An interlude for a side character that serves as that character's introduction, bad.
     
  8. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion DLP Supporter

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    Nah. I think you can make it work. Not that people often do, but they aren't inherently bad.